“Let’s give it a try,” Nash recalls saying, as he and his cousins had to borrow money to pay off the $300 per month required for the building rent.
Nash and his family brought a wider variety of Italian food and the family’s Sicilian heritage to the masses with the restaurant’s opening in 1975.
Since then, Nash has owned 11 restaurants, including pasta and clam bars across Houston and Galveston. He has since scaled back to one restaurant in Rice Village, D’Amico’s Italian Market Cafe, first opened in 1996.
The family-owned restaurant serves southern Italian dishes—handmade sandwiches, fire-roasted pizzas, house-made pasta and a slew of seafood options. It also provides a fully stocked Italian deli and market.
“That’s what is unique about this location,” said Brina D’Amico, Nash’s daughter and the restaurant’s co-owner.
The market offers imported oil, wine, snacks and other items from Italy and offers specialty items during holidays. A favorite item for customers is a special olive oil that is also used at the restaurant, which comes in a glass bottle also made in Italy.
The restaurant added full beverage service in 2017 and expanded the dining area in 2019 with more seating, but it is also open to private events.
The long career and evolving business have been rewarding for Nash.
“It is a lot of work but is rewarding,” Nash said. “How could you not have fun with entertaining people?”
D’Amico’s Italian Market Cafe
5510 Morningside Drive, Ste. 140, Houston
Hours: Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun. noon-9 p.m.